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KPRC teases investigation of RUPD allegations

By Rachel Marcus and Molly Chiu     11/25/13 6:00pm

Multiple Rice University students have recently posted a link to a news promotional video entitled "Tonight at 10: the arrest video Rice University doesn't want you to see" on Facebook. The video, which local news station KPRC is using to promote coverage that is set to air at 10 p.m. on Nov. 26, asks whether "[Rice University police] officers went too far" in their treatment of a suspect. The full content of the video and KPRC's coverage has yet to be determined. 

In response to this video, Rice University has released the following statement. 

"Around 11 p.m. on the night of Aug. 10, 2013, the Rice University Police Department was alerted that a bike equipped with a GPS tracking device had been stolen from campus. Rice police officers tracked the bike and caught up with the suspect at Montclair Drive and Holcombe Boulevard.

The officers approached the suspect and attempted to arrest him, ordering him off the bike and onto the ground so that they could handcuff him, search for weapons and make the arrest. When the suspect failed to comply with verbal commands, the officers forced him to the ground, which is standard police protocol. The officers placed a handcuff on the suspect's left wrist, but he resisted having the right wrist handcuffed by pinning it under his body. Despite the officers' orders to allow himself to be handcuffed, he continued to resist arrest.

The officers then used pressure point control techniques in an effort to subdue the suspect, but he continued to resist being handcuffed.  After repeated attempts to gain control of the suspect with verbal commands and physical control techniques were unsuccessful, two officers deployed their batons and struck the suspect's legs. The officers are trained to strike the legs in an effort to subdue a resistant suspect without causing serious bodily harm.

 Officers were finally able to gain more control of the suspect by applying a second set of handcuffs to his right wrist and then attaching that set of handcuffs to the handcuffs on his left wrist. At that point, the officers stopped the use of force, although the suspect then resisted being placed in the police vehicle.  At no point did the officers draw their weapons.  The suspect was transported to Harris County Jail, and he later pled guilty to the bike theft. 

Rice University Police Chief Johnny Whitehead conducted an internal review, which is standard when use of force is involved, and concluded that officers used the amount of force necessary to overcome the suspect's resistance to arrest.  The department is continuing to review its techniques for dealing with suspects who resist arrest.  

Rice University police are charged with protecting the campus and its students and employees, and are fully trained and commissioned police officers."

Rice University police officers could not be reached at this time. 

KPRC's promotional video can be seen here: http://www.click2houston.com/tonight-at-10-the-arrest-video-rice-university-doesnt-want-you-to-see/-/1736084/23155216/-/19m5e5/-/index.html

KPRC declined to comment at this time. 

The Rice Thresher will continue to investigate this issue and will update the story as information becomes available. 

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